Minor League Baseball

Three Mudcats earn All-Star nods

cbest@newsobserver.comJune 6, 2014 

  • At Five County Stadium

    Monday, June 9 – Wednesday, June 11

    Potomac vs. Carolina, 7 p.m.

    Promotions of Note: Tuesday is Dollar Dog Night (All-Beef Hot Dogs)

Carolina Mudcats standouts Erik Gonzalez, Anthony Gallas and Ryan Merritt have been named to the Carolina League All-Star team for the annual battle with the California League.

The Carolina/California League All-Star Game will be played June 17 in Wilmington, Del.

Gonzalez, a member of the Cleveland Indians’ 40-man roster, receives his first All-Star selection. He will serve in a utility infield role for the All-Star Game.

Through 41 games, the Dominican owns a .304 average with one home run and 24 RBIs. He also has five triples, the most by a Mudcat this year. The 22-year-old hit .341 in April and owns the longest hitting streak in the CL this year, a 16-gamer that spanned April 8-24. Gonzalez signed with the Indians as a free agent in 2008.

This is also the first All-Star selection for Merritt, 22. The McKinney, Texas, native owns the most wins (6) and the best ERA (1.71) among Carolina League qualifiers this year.

His 0.98 WHIP also tops CL hurlers and Merritt ranks second in the league with 68.1 innings pitched. Opposing batters are hitting just .207 against Merritt, second only to teammate Shawn Morimando (.205). His 8.82 fewest baserunners/9 IP ratio is also a league best. The Tribe originally chose Merritt in the 16th round of the 2011 draft.

Gallas earned his second All-Star selection. He made the Midwest League All-Star roster, representing Lake County, in 2011. Gallas leads the CL with 21 doubles, the fourth most in all of MiLB. The Cleveland native owns a .292 batting average and also leads the team with seven home runs.

He has plated 27 runs on the year and scored a team-high 52 runs. Gallas went undrafted despite tremendous numbers during his career with Kent State University. The Cleveland Indians signed him in 2010.

Potomac visits this week: Carolina starts its last home stretch of the first half of the season on Monday looking to create a little momentum for the second half of the season, which starts on June 19. Everybody’s record gets reset at 0-0 at that point, which will be a welcome start for the Mudcats who have struggled, especially at home (11-19 through their first 30 home games) in the last five weeks.

Injuries have played a big role in the Mudcats’ season. Carolina lost infielders Joe Sever (hand) and Yandy Diaz (wrist) to injuries on opening day. They continue to rehab their injuries. Pitcher Dylan Baker fractured his ankle in mid-April. Gonzalez has battled injuries as well. He missed two weeks in May with a middle finger strain.

Potomac, which visits Five County Stadium beginning Monday, is in the middle of a three-team race for the Northern Division first-half title with Lynchburg and Wilmington. Myrtle Beach has already clinched the Southern Division title.

Eye on the Nationals: Outfielder Brandon Miller was tied for second in the Carolina League in home runs through his first 36 games played. As a team, the P-Nats are second in home runs this season.

Second baseman Oscar Tejada was tied for third in the league in runs batted in with 35.

Best: 919-524-8895; Twitter: @dclaybest

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